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Ashlee is Mama of one darling boy. A 28 week early bird, now 1 and some change, doing beautifully. She lives near Chicago with her sweetheart husband and French Bulldog. She's a thinker not afraid to get her silly on. Babywearer, veggie queen, photography nut. Before the domestic days Ashlee was pursuing a future in developmental psychology but has happily shifted gears in favor of staying at home and couldn't imagine doing anything else. In her free time (ha!) you can find her whipping up babyslings, holding down the fort at Mama Speaks and spotlighting as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor.

Mama's Nest

Fall Y'all Giveaway for you! Wednesday, October 31, 2007 |

We have a WINNER!!! Congrats to Jenna at Momma Jay: The Designated Worrier

Don't worry I have something special for the rest of you that will be going out in an email shortly.

There were several entries with no means of contacting you, so if you signed up but have a private blog or didn't leave your email address feel free to send an email to newmamasnest[at]gmail.com

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I'm a little late getting this posted but felt a need to participate! What's in it for you? How about a Nest Baby Sling in Glacier? Just leave a comment here and I'll choose one person at random on Sunday November 4. Enjoy!

• 185 Chirping

Eye Is For Optometrist Thursday, October 25, 2007 |

Since X was little his right eye has had a life of it's own. I started to notice in pictures that it was always looking in while the other was pointed straight ahead and occasionally you'll be talking to him and it will wander off in the opposite direction. I may not have been worried, but extreme prematurity increases eye problems and David's family has a history of ocular ailments, so we figured we'd get things checked out. Thankfully the crossing is actually not that but a little droop covering some of the white making it appear crossed (yes, Mama you were right!) and his retina's are securely attached.

But, Apparently most babes Xav's age are far-sighted and he's right at zero, leaning towards nearsightedness (also common in preemies) so the good doc predicted that he'll need glasses at some point in the next year or so. We'll go back in three months to see how things have changed, and while I'm not even going to entertain the fun it will be to keep glasses on a toddler, I'd anticipated he'd need them at some point. Yes, it would have been nice if he'd inherited my 20/20 vision, but all things considered we can handle glasses.

Plus, some miniature Buddy Holly's might just be the cutest things I've ever seen.

• 6 Chirping

Wordless Wednesday - One Last Day at the Beach Wednesday, October 24, 2007 |

• 11 Chirping

2 Hours To Bedtime Friday, October 19, 2007 |

Xavier's bedtime routine is pretty simple, in that we don't really have one. When he was new, he would just nurse and zonk out in the sling and sleep there on me until I was ready for bed. Eventually he started needing to actually lay down to sleep peacefully and so I'd nurse him to sleep in bed and sneak away. And there we stand. We usually play right up until bed time and then do a super quick potty run, diaper on, tooth brush, say goodnight to Papa, Oliver, Norman, reading corner, the puppy light, the guitar, the... and then we jet back upstairs and plop into bed where X nurses to dreamland while I sing his song and "tickle" his hair. Within 30-40 minutes he's usually near comatose, done nursing and I can sneak away.

Tonight however... we make it through our routine, I go to sneak away and Xavier rolls over, sits up, wide eyes, says- "Mama, go down stairs and play." The kid is WIDE awake. He's had his power nap and is ready to burn the midnight oil. I'm about to get frustrated, really frustrated not that it's a big deal but...
  • I'm tired
  • I'm not feeling well
  • I'm wondering what David's up to
  • I need to get diapers in the wash
  • I HAVE to sew
  • Reviews need to get posted
  • I really just want to snuggle up with my lovely husband on the couch and do nothing
  • and
  • I REALLY want some ice cream
oh, and I have to pee. I take a deep breath and decide we'll just lay here and maybe he'll fall back asleep. (HA! in the history of his world X has NEVER just laid down and gone to sleep). Just as we call Papa in (thanks to Xav's 20th "Daddy doing?") it hits me- in 15 years I won't be able to pay my son to snuggle and my list of "desires" will look lame to say the least. And so I give up, give in and the next two hours are bliss. Filled with our sleepy floppy fish, rolling back and forth to snuggle Mama, then snuggle Daddy. To kiss and whisper and just be. Time stopped and we just were, just us, our family. I had massage requests from head to toe and then. Those little doe eyes look up at me and he says "Mama? Javi ready nonny night-night" yes, my lamb. And so we snuggle up close, X nurses of to sleep as I tickle and sing again. 15 minutes he's out. I sneak downstairs and realize it's nearly MY bedtime. The sewing and reviews (and maybe even the icecream!) will have to wait. And I don't even mind!

• 7 Chirping

Month 22 (and 2 days) Tuesday, October 16, 2007 |

Sweet Xavier,
I used to be so good about monthly posts and updates but I've been neglecting them more and more. Actually, its ok because the less time I spend here the more time I have for you. Or sleep. And since you love sleep almost as much as me I know you understand. You're sleeping right now actually, right here in the crook of my arm nursing and snoozing away. My plan had originally been to let you sleep and then sneak away (something I rarely do) to tackle some laundry or something equally dreary, but every time you roll over and I attempt to sit up, you flop back over and sleepily scramble around for more "nonny". And so I'm laying here slowly blogging on your beloved iPhone.

In my mind this month blends with the last and the one before that so forgive me if I don't document much "new-ness". Fall has settled in and you are loving the changes. Wondering why the green tree is turning red, the air is colder and the squirrels are frantically ridding our trees of nuts and acorns. It's dark now when we go get Papa from work and you love hunting the moon. You keep me busy. Keep me smiling. Occasionally you'll tell a joke that's so funny you even crack yourself up.

Most of all I am amazed at how you love. Of course papa and I get the bulk of you gushiness, but people matter so much to you. You remember your friends and strangers alike, you want to know how they are doing, you want to see and share. So often we'll be lost in a task and you'll ask about someone- its just as likely to be your best buddy as some man you spotted on a walk 3 weeks past. That's what life is all about my boy and I'm amazed you get that now.

Of course you are a toddler, still figuring out your wants and needs, your place, at times that gets overwhelming- understandably- and a meltdown may ensue. Always remember that everyone needs a good cry every once in a while and believe me, I have moments I wish I could fall down on the floor and sob because the sun isn't shining.

I feel obligated to share some of your current favorites and so I will- you love Dinosaurs, you know their names and what they eat, and you do this super cute Dino walk. Your favorite changes, it was T-Rex, Triceratops ("cera-pots"), then Appatasaurus. Today it's Trachadon. He eats grass. Things that go are also pretty impressive- trains and trucks, airplanes and the ambulance. You've always had music in your bones, but now you really make your own. You're always singing, playing the piano, or the big guitar. I am grateful you are content listening to our "real" music. Even if it means I have to explain to Granny that your favorite singer really is Bob Marley.

You are ALWAYS talking and I love it. My little narrator explaining away our days. You don't sign much anymore, really just to add extra emphasis to your "please" and "sorry". In fact when I showed you some of your old baby signs the other day you thought it was hilarious and gave me that look like I was making things up. You count to ten (well almost- you seem to have an aversion to the number 5) and can spell your name - x.a.v.I.E.RRRRR!- and colors are old news.

You are a bit of a study in genetics, your ability to understand and speak Spanish amazes me. Even though you don't hear it much, you just get it. Not too long ago your Aunt Olivia (leeba) brought you some Spanish/English flash cards, I'll admit I rolled my eyes, flashcards are about as much fun as having your fingernails trimmed, but you curled up into her lap and for nearly 30 minutes straight listened to words and phrases and repeated every single one in Spanish. And you surprise me by throwing them in our conversations here and there...

Well little one, I'm rambling and could continue on and on and on. Just know you are loved. Can't wait to see what this month brings!

All my squeezes,


• 7 Chirping

Calling it love isn't enough... Friday, October 12, 2007 |

It's cold!, originally uploaded by Allen Tattoo.

• 7 Chirping

Wordless Wednesday - Christmas 2005 Wednesday, October 10, 2007 |

• 9 Chirping

It's All In The Name Saturday, October 06, 2007 |

I haven't played along with one of these in a loooong time, but Steph posted a meme the other day that looked like too much fun to pass up...

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)
Buster Cooper

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)

Vanilla Oatmeal

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name),

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal),
Black Sparrow

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, hospital where you were born),
Dyan Porter

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first),

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink),
The Green Chai

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers),
Kyle Elmer

9.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ),
Jo Eugene

10. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter),
Turley Toledo

11. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower).
Autumn Daisy

12. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
Strawberry Skirty

13. HIPPIE NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree),
Blueberry Ash

14. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”),
The Photographic Sunshine

Ok. I think I might have to seriously consider some of those! Let me know if you decide to play along.


• 9 Chirping

Fighting Faith Friday, October 05, 2007 |

I've always thought that some people are just born faithful. Others are not. Do you know what I mean? There are those people that by our modern standards have nothing, and without ever reading a Bible, they have this faith. This unwavering foundation that IS what they have. They don't question, they just... Believe.

My husband is that way. I won't say he's never questioned, never faltered but he just has it. It's inspiring. It's one of the things that drew me to him. This confident security, like he just knows. He says part of it is that he doesn't have a father, he does-his mom remarried and "dad" is amazing and loving, and in the years before, David's Grandfather stepped in and filled that role. But without a "real" Dad, he has felt that quite literally God is his father- his Daddy.

And then there is me. I have this overwhelming yearning to believe, but it has ALWAYS been difficult. I fight it every step of the way. I often look back to the early days to try to figure out why. My family was one that proclaimed Christianity, when it was convenient. Like, we believe in God by default, and definitely don't want to think we just hole up in the ground when we die. But it was never much talked about. Definitely not something my parents thought enough of to actually take the doctrine to heart, you know - the sanctity of marriage, loving others, mmm not important.

I don't know why things were this way, well actually I do, both of my parents choose to live their lives as something of a revolt, a rebellion. My dad's mother immigrated here from Greece as a child, and while we don't hear much of our heritage, I've learned through past Christmas and Easter gathering that while some of the family upholds the Greek Orthodox faith our little branch seems to have broke off. My grandparents on my Moms side are strict church going, prayer saying Christians. My Grandpa is a Freemason, my mom and her siblings raised actively in the church. But they were strict and so my mother turned away.

And so my foundation. Christianity became akin to mythology. Christians hypocrites. Definitely not something I wanted for my life. And yet as I got older, began coming into my own (ok so there were also definitely drugs involved) I needed answers. Purpose. And I began searching. Studying. After a few years I settled somewhat on Buddhism. I won't say I agreed with everything, but the core principles, the values, the happiness were appealing. I was content. But still, questioning.

I felt a need for creator. Enter David. Our long open discussions. He allowed me to pick apart his faith without judgment. And didn't force anything on me. He was patient. And little by little I began to see that I didn't have to like Christians to believe in their Lord. That it was about love and acceptance, not guilt and disdain. And wow! I was rocked with change, priorities, values shifted, I was on fire. And happy.

Inevitably, the fire began to smolder, but I stoked it and kept alive. Study, prayer, this thing called faith. But still I falter, it seems sooo foreign. I was never so certain there was a creator than when Xavier was born. To see a life spring from me left NO doubt in my mind. And this faith and trust carried me through those first weeks when our boy was so sick, when we needed him to make it, but had no guarantee he would.

Fast forward 18 months or so. I've been on this roller coaster of belief and question. I go through the motions. I have promised to help raise our son in the Lord, but there are times I feel I'm pretending. I try to remind myself that God is love. THAT is my purpose. That I believe in. Yet I question.

And then two days ago I'm pulling out of the garage with Xavier strapped in back and he gasps and exclaims "Mama!" pointing to the corner of the garage "Mama! SEE JESUS!". What? and again again, he tells me, "There Mama, See JESUS!"

I'm speechless.

He has it.

• 10 Chirping

Wordless Wednesday - Miserable With A Side Of Wisk Wednesday, October 03, 2007 |

Tower of tears, originally uploaded by Mama's Nest / Ashlee.

(Don't worry it was just the shoes, they came off and the world was a better place! Oops those are words...)

• 11 Chirping

We Like(ah) The Hives Tuesday, October 02, 2007 |

Once upon a time, Mama and Papa were cool. Going to shows as often as we could get there, rockin and singing and dancing the night away. Even with my baby bump we were sneaking in all the rock n roll we could. Soon baby made 3 and my curfew gladly came with the setting of the sun. Papa has occasionally snuck out to partake in some musical delicacies and about this time last year Xavier accompanied me to the big city to enjoy and evening with Morrissey, but our musical ventures have otherwise been limited to all things iPod and the local Polka troupe at the Harvest Festival.

When we caught wind that one of our favourite live acts was coming to town my dear husband couldn't resist snatching up 4 tickets for the 3 of us. And so we set off on a whirl-wind adventure to see The Hives. It was of course fantastical. I was hyped up for a week before hand, and relished in the fact that we were actually planning on being late for the show. Unfortunately we were a little too late to unload the two extra tickets we had, but it's no sweat.

We arrived with a bit of a wait before the good stuff began and after struggling to get X to keep his headphones on, we bopped around to the filler tunes, ate some ice and tried not to touch anyone. I stared at the back of some guys head as the music began but David and X had pretty decent views. They killed it of course and after a few songs and a nursing session we decide to take off before we turned into pumpkins.

A lovely late night stroll past Wrigley Field, pit stop for some Vegan French toast at one of my favorite dives and a long drive home, baby fast asleep, catching up on some good ol' fashioned radio shows. Never had a better date with my boys.

• 7 Chirping